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Technical Standards:
In compliance with the title 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, and the guidelines for working in surgery, the following standards have been established.
According to the nature of the work required in surgical technology and the educational requirements of the surgical technology curriculum the student must be able to meet the following standards prior to admission into the program.


Examples of necessary behaviors
(not all inclusive)

Must follow standards for personal hygiene

  • Daily Bathing
  • Clean (freshly washed) hair
  • Clean, healthy teeth
  • Clean fingernails with no fingernail polish or acrylic nails
  • No eyebrow piercings in the OR (or placeholder for piercing)
  • No earrings or jewelry in the OR
  • Current immunization status (including seasonal flu)
  • Current statement of history and physical from a physician
  • Freshly laundered (unwrinkled) clothing (scrubs) in good condition with no tears, scars, or stains

Free from dependency of or use of mood altering chemicals or substances

  • Must pass 7 panel (random) drug test
  • Must not take mood altering substances prior to or during clinical including prescription medication prescribed by a physician
    • Including any medication that would reduce reaction time, cause drowsiness, or cause sluggishness.
  • Must not smoke (including e-cigarettes, or smokeless tobacco)
    • Many facilities ban smoking on the grounds
    • Many facilities ban employees (students) who smell like cigarette smoke
    • Many surgical procedures require the surgical tech/first assist to remain scrubbed for long periods of time
    • Able to stand for 4 hours (8 hours on call) without a break and without smoking

Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds.

  • Establish a rapport with clients, families, and colleagues.

Communication abilities sufficient for interaction with others in verbal and written form

  • Collect and document data
  • Explain treatment procedures
  • Obtain and disseminate information relevant to patient care and work duties.

Critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment

  • Able to prioritize sentinel tasks in the operating room
  • Identify cause and effect relationship in clinical situations
  • Apply knowledge from lecture, lab and clinical areas
  • Utilize basic mathematical skills

Physical abilities sufficient to maneuver in small spaces, and reach for needed equipment

  • Move around and within sterile field,
  • Move around and within sub-sterile area
  • Administer CPR
  • Transfer patients from stretchers/ wheelchairs
  • Transfer anesthetized patients to and from the operating room table to stretcher
  • Assist in positioning non-mobile patients on the operating room table.

Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective patient care

  • Move, calibrate, pass equipment and supplies including sharp instruments
  • Lift and carry at least thirty (30) pounds of weight to safely transport and use instrument trays and ancillary aids (x-ray cassettes, positioning equipment, portable equipment from one operating room to another including emergency equipment
  • Able to stand for 4 hours (8 hours on call) without a break

Auditory ability sufficient to monitor and assess health needs

  • Hears patient’s cries of distress
  • Sound of instruments being properly utilized
  • Monitor alarms
  • Monitor vital signs
  • Understand and correctly carry out oral instructions given by instructors and clinical personnel where all personnel are wearing surgical masks. (covering the lips and lower face)

Visual ability sufficient for physical assessment, performance of surgical technology procedures, and maintenance of environmental safety

  • Observes client responses such as skin color and facial expression
  • Interprets monitors
  • Reading computer screens, small print, handwritten notations
  • Visually monitoring patient for retention of correct position, correct breathing, and motion
  • Reading and carrying out written instructions on preference cards, requisitions, treatment cards, notes and other records

Tactile ability sufficient for assessment and performance of surgical technology procedures

  • Perform palpation techniques, functions of surgical technology
    • Such as insertion of a urinary catheter

Emotional stability and mental alertness in performing the surgical technologist role

  • Maintaining a calm and efficient manner in high stress/ high pressure situations anytime of a 24 hour period with patients, visitors, staff, and peers (and students)
  • Does not use or abuse drugs, alcohol, or tobacco including prescribed drugs that may alter speed or perception of surroundings.
    • Nicotine is included as it produces physical and mood altering effects.

Olfactory ability sufficient to perform surgical technology procedures

  • Distinguish drugs, liquid or gaseous chemicals